Uganda Celebrates the Safer Tourism Seal Award

The Government of Uganda together with the Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) yet again have something great to celebrate and be proud of following the recent achievement of being awarded the Safer Tourism Evaluated Seal by Safer Tourism organization under Rebuilding Tourism.

The Uganda Tourism Board Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Lilly Ajarova and Quality Assurance Officer Samora Semakula applied for the Safer Tourism Seal on 24th August 2020. In addition to the self-assessment required, UTB also included a request for an independent evaluation.

This Safer Tourism Seal is available for any safari destination and tourism stakeholder based on self-assessment. This Uganda Tourism Board achievement shows the importance of evaluation, and commitment. This helps to double-check on policies in place.

The Safer Tourism Seal is an initiative by rebuilding.travel, a global grassroots movement with tourism leaders in 120 countries.

The Uganda Tourism Board is the third destination awarded an endorsement by the Safer Tourism Seal experts. This wonderful achievement has only been awarded to Kenya and Jamaica before. 20 destinations and stakeholders requested an independent evaluation, and hundreds of stakeholders in 50 countries and 11 US States are displaying the Safer Tourism Seal based on their self-assessment. 17 tourism leaders had been moved into the international hall of tourism heroes.

The seal identifies that there is no 100% safety and security in the world and it is for this reason that the seal uses the term “safer tourism.” Being awarded this seal indicates that you or a particular destination has established a vibrant tourism guarantee program that stresses continual reviews, revisions, and upgrades.

The seal’s motto is: “safety, security, and health first.” The Safer Tourism Seal acknowledges that the awarded entity fully understands that new measures must be introduced as the situation warrants. It is for this reason that Rebuilding Tourism offers its Safer Tourism Seal only to tourism entities, businesses, and localities which recognize that the hospitality industry’s number one job is the protection of its guests and of those working in the industry.

The Uganda Tourism Board is one of the founding members of the African Tourism Board. Cuthbert Ncube, one of the African Tourism Board founders said; “Indeed it is with great admiration as I congratulate Lilly and the Uganda Tourism Board in joining the Captains of the Tourism sector in adopting the – Safer Tourism Seal. As most Member States are slowly reopening their borders it is of paramount importance, that the precautionary measures have adhered.

After one good month of extensive brainstorming and going over important documents and interviews, the Uganda Tourism Board is prepared to fulfil all the elements needed to operate safely as a popular travel and tourism destination in Africa.

This independent evaluation goes beyond self-assessment giving the seal more credibility. The evaluation is not a rubber stamp, but a process, and the Uganda Tourism Board today was approved and may now proudly show the blue seal of an evaluated Safer Tourism Seal holder. Uganda is a strategic and key role player in the continent in driving the economic recovery in the Region, Rebuilding Travel will recognize, support, and work with countries who are playing a pivotal role in destination management post-COVID-19

Tourism in Uganda…

Safer Tourism SealTourism is one of the world’s leading industries and major economic development tool therefore security (crime and terrorism) has a major impact on the tourism, cruise, and event-oriented economies. As of today, much of the entire world has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects have been devastating.

Uganda, the Pearl of Africa is famous around the world for its natural beauty, unique attractions, wildlife its historic villages, and many more. Uganda takes great pride in its public officials who are tourism-sensitive who understand the importance of the tourism sector and how tourism impacts the nation’s reputation around the world.

In today’s world dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic, both local citizens and visitors throughout the world demand safety and security implemented by well-trained professionals. The travelling public understands the relationship between safety, security, reputation, economic viability, and health. These five factors when combined are called tourism surety. Each of these factors is essential in winning a Safer Tourism Seal and demonstrating that the awarded entity does everything possible to assure the highest level of tourism surety possible. The seal recognizes that there is no 100% safety and security in the world. It is for this reason that the seal uses the term “safer tourism.” It indicates that the entity awarded such a seal has established a dynamic tourism surety program that demands continual reviews, revisions, and upgrades. The Safer Tourism Seal acknowledges that the awarded entity fully understands that new measures must be introduced as the situation warrants.

The Uganda Ministry of Tourism in discussions with Rebuilding Tourism has demonstrated that it understands that tourism surety involves training, education, investments in software, and the understanding that security/surety is not a simplistic discipline. In an age of great change and challenges ranging from issues of health to security, the Uganda Ministry of Tourism has demonstrated that it accepts the fact that its tourism personnel will have continual training and must be flexible enough to adjust their procedure to a constantly changing environment.

The Uganda Ministry of Tourism demonstrated its commitment to tourism well-being through two in-person telephone interviews and by satisfactorily answering in writing multiple in-depth questions concerning its health and safety procedures not only as they pertain to the current pandemic but also as they pertain to its overall tourism surety policy.

The Ministry indicated via both oral interviews and in writing that it has involved itself in creating a safer tourism product. It also demonstrated to the Safer Tourism researcher that Uganda is doing everything possible to create a safe, secure, and healthy environment by working with international agencies, by participating with regional agencies, and by interacting with tourism security and well-being specialists.

The Uganda Ministry of Tourism has indicated that it is taking proactive measures to assure visitors of the safest tourism experience possible. The Ministry well understands that no one can assure 100% safety and security and that no one shall fall ill. What it can do is provide the best tourism surety measures possible. For this reason, the government reports that:

  • Uganda must continue to create and update its health and surety protocols on a timely and regional basis.
  • Uganda must put in place realistic health, sanitation, disinfection, distancing, and safety protocols that are both affordable and pro-active implemented by your government.
  • Uganda follows international social distancing guidelines both for staff and visitors and works to create touch-less solutions whenever possible. The nation is implementing touch-less policies wherever and whenever possible and uses technology to decrease physical interactions in hotels, restaurants, places of transportation, etc.
  • Uganda has developed an affordable and workable PPE policy.
  • Uganda’s Tourism Ministry requires the wearing of masks when personal interactions occur when people are less than 2 meters from each other. The same rules apply to public transportation.
  • Uganda requests the frequent washing of hands and the sanitization of hotel rooms and other public locations or apparatuses used by the public.
  • The country does everything possible to sanitize sleeping quarters for guests. It should be noted that Uganda gives special consideration to the application of cleaning and disinfection measures in common areas (restrooms, halls, corridors, lifts, etc.) as a general preventive measure during the entire COVID-19 pandemic.

Safety precautions that have been set for Uganda’s Tourism today

Safer Tourism SealThe following are implemented for rooms or specific areas exposed to COVID-19 cases:

Special attention has been given to objects that are frequently touched by travellers such as handles, handrails, switches, elevator buttons, doorknobs, etc. Cleaning staff members have been sensitized on how to do it accordingly.

  1. a) All surfaces that can become soiled with respiratory secretions or any other body fluids of the ill person(s), e.g. toilet, hand-washing basins, and baths are to be cleaned with a regular household disinfectant.
  2. b) There should be colour-coded cleaning materials for different areas to avoid contamination.
  3. c) Service staff have been trained or prepared in handling, application, and storage of these products, mostly bleach, which may be at a higher concentration than usual.
  4. d) Hotels and other accommodation facilities have been advised to use only disposable cleaning materials where possible. Any cleaning equipment made of cloths and absorbent materials, e.g. mop heads and wiping cloths, should be discarded.
  5. e) All used items must be handled appropriately to mitigate the risk of potential transmission. Disposable items (hand towels, gloves, masks, tissues) should be placed in a container with a lid and disposed of according to the hotel action plan and national regulations for waste management disinfection.
  6. f) Cleaning crews have been trained on the use of PPE and hand hygiene.
  7. g) All rooms and common areas should be ventilated daily.
  8. h) Automated and manually-operated hand sanitizers have to be positioned in all sensitive areas and on refilled or replaced on a continuous basis.

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